More than 70 young women presented the workshops they had been working on for months to family, friends, colleagues and attendees last Saturday as part of Queens Community House’s Access for Young Women (AFYW) program during Forest Hills-based nonprofit’s 22nd annual Young Women’s Leadership Conference.
AFYW provides an intensive 30-week leadership development curriculum for young women ages 12-18, including training in public speaking, problem solving, goal setting and critical thinking.
The program culminates with the annual conference organized and facilitated by the young women to educate their peers and spread awareness on issues of importance to them.
The conference’s keynote speaker was Beth Kobliner, the two-time New York Times bestselling author of “Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not)” and “Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties.” In a conversation moderated by two AFYW program participants, Kobliner provided practical advice to the young participants about everyday finance and answered important questions from the audience about finances for college, and how to smash the gender wage cap.
After the address, participants were invited to attend a number of workshops designed and facilitated by the young women, on topics discussed that included feminism, colorism within the AAPI community, homelessness awareness, the daily fear women face, and the struggles of LGBTQ-identifying people.
“It was very inspiring to see so many strong young women speak about issues prevalent in our community,” said Tanveer Dhilon, a high school senior who has been a AFYW participant for three years. “Presenting in front of our community members allowed me to express my voice and empower those around me.”
AFYW Program Coordinator Taylor Faiella said that she was inspired by the young people in the program.
“Their acceptance of others and motivation to make the world a more inclusive place should be an example to others,” Faiella said.
Queens Community House is a multi-service settlement house committed to serving the diverse neighborhoods of Queens, serving more than 25,000 children, youth, adults and older adults each year.
Through a broad network of programs operating at 32 locations in 14 Queens neighborhoods, the organization offers borough residents a needed support system at every stage of life, helping them to develop knowledge, confidence and skills to change their lives for the better and become active participants in the larger community.